Thanksgiving turkey. The classic delight!

This goes without saying, the Thanksgiving tradition is one of the most delicious traditions we have. There probably should be a holly guide somewhere about Thanksgiving turkey cooking guide, and it should be online, of course, but until then: If you want a perfectly cooked turkey, here is how to do it.


  • 12-15 lb (5.4-6.8 kg) whole turkey, thawed if frozen
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon dried herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, and sage)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • Fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary, and sage) for stuffing and garnish
  • Optional: vegetables (such as carrots, celery, and onions) for the roasting pan
  • Optional: turkey stuffing (prepare separately if desired)
Thanksgiving turkey cooking guide online


  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C). Make sure the turkey is completely thawed if you’re using a frozen one.
  2. Remove the giblets and neck from the turkey cavity (if included), and set them aside for other uses or discard them.
  3. Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water, then pat it dry with paper towels.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the softened butter, salt, pepper, and dried herbs. This will be the seasoning butter.
  5. Gently separate the turkey skin from the breast meat using your fingers, being careful not to tear the skin. Spread about 2/3 of the seasoned butter evenly underneath the skin.
  6. Rub the remaining seasoned butter over the outside of the turkey, coating it evenly.
  7. Stuff the turkey cavity with quartered onion, garlic cloves, lemon halves, and fresh herbs.
  8. If desired, prepare your turkey stuffing separately and bake it separately from the turkey. Do not stuff the turkey with stuffing as it may not cook evenly and can pose food safety risks.
  9. Optional: Place a bed of vegetables (such as carrots, celery, and onions) in the roasting pan to elevate the turkey and provide flavor to the drippings.
  10. Place the prepared turkey on a rack in the roasting pan. Tent the turkey loosely with aluminum foil, ensuring it’s not touching the turkey.
  11. Roast the turkey in the preheated oven based on the weight of your turkey. As a general guide, cook for approximately 15 minutes per pound (33 minutes per kg). However, it’s crucial to use a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) in the thickest part of the thigh.
  12. About halfway through the cooking time, remove the foil tent to allow the turkey to brown.
  13. Once the turkey reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the oven and tent it with foil again. Allow it to rest for about 20-30 minutes before carving.
  14. Carve the turkey and serve with your favorite side dishes and gravy.

Remember, cooking times may vary, so it’s important to rely on a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey is cooked thoroughly.

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